Chaos reign as police stations struggle to handle flood relief work in J&K

Officials at relief camps refer flood victims to nearest police stations to get food grains, but police say they do not have stocks to distribute.

September 17, 2014 04:09 pm | Updated December 04, 2021 11:28 pm IST - Srinagar

In this September 16, 2014 photo, flood victims reach out to receive relief distributed by volunteers in Srinagar.

In this September 16, 2014 photo, flood victims reach out to receive relief distributed by volunteers in Srinagar.

Chaos has hit relief distribution in flood-ravaged Kashmir as some survivors of the natural calamity from the summer capital of the State are running from pillar to post to get food grains but to no avail.

Officials at various relief camps refer flood victims to the nearest police stations to get food grains —mostly rice is in demand — but police officials say they do not have stocks to distribute.

Ghulam Rasool, a resident of Padshahi Bagh in Srinagar, approached the Saddar Police Station with an application for release of food grains for his locality. The application was addressed to the Relief Officer in-charge of the concerned area who had marked it to Saddar Police Station.

“The police officers are telling us now to go to Sheikhpura in Budgam district for getting rice bags. We have been going around for two days now but to no avail,” Mr. Rasool told PTI as he was coming out of police station.

Mr. Rasool claimed that while several truck-loads of relief have been coming to neighbouring areas but nothing reached Padshahi Bagh locality.

A senior police officer said there was no relief material stored in the police stations in his area. “What shall we distribute when we have nothing here,” he asked.

He said the relief material coming from various areas arrives at the police station concerned but police does not distribute it and hands it over to local committees.

“Police has its plate full already. We are recovering bodies from flooded areas and there are reports of more bodies being sighted by locals in collapsed houses.

“In such a scenario, we cannot take the additional responsibility of relief distribution,” the officer said.

The government had directed that police stations be converted into base camps for distribution of relief material but the police officers are reluctant to do it as they fear outbreak of law and order problems.

The police officer said police stations do not have the space for storing large quantities of material.

“We get the material along with name of the area where it is to be distributed. We provide the security to the vehicles carrying relief material and hand it over to local committees for further distribution,” he added.

The base camp for collection of relief material inside the Railway Station at Budgam was also found to be almost empty. “We only have water and blankets here now. Rest of the material has been dispatched to various camps,” Basharat Ahmad, the officer in-charge, said.

A police official said the uneven distribution of the relief material had led to scuffles between groups of victims at several places but the situation was managed in time by the police intervention.

“The only way to ensure that all the needy get relief is to activate the Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Department, at least in the areas which are now clear of flood water. It will resolve the problem to a large extent,” he added.

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